fri 19/07/2024

tv

White Collar, Bravo

Adam Sweeting Tim DeKay, Matt Bomer and Tiffani Thiessen star in Bravo's smart new comedy crime drama

The opening episode of a new series is always an awkward blighter. You have to introduce the characters and establish the required tone, while squeezing in enough plot to keep the thing moving. Even mega-budget epics like FlashForward have struggled to make it work.

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The Prisoner, ITV1

Adam Sweeting

"The ultimate battle! Jesus versus Magneto!" raved one sci-fi blogger (ironically), on seeing that this Anglo-American remake of The Prisoner stars Jim The Passion of the Christ Caviezel and Sir Ian X-Men McKellen. If only.

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The First Election Debate, ITV1

Adam Sweeting

The way the pundits were jumping up and down hailing a historic night in British politics, you'd think nobody had ever seen Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown on TV before. This, we were told, could be a historic 90 minutes that would transform our nation's political discourse. "The leaders' debate will be a direct confrontation with the voters that could change the election", according to a man wearing glasses in The Times.

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Outnumbered, BBC One

graeme Thomson

When it first aired in 2007, Outnumbered finally allowed viewers to see children on television really being children (hitting each other, lying, being naturally witty, shouting “Dad attacked that lady” in public), while ruthlessly exploiting the child’s unerring ability to say aloud what we’re really thinking, whether it's about terrorism (“What other religions have blown up planes, Mummy?”) or other cultural hot potatoes.

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Welcome to Lagos, BBC Two

howard Male Heavy load in Lagos: a woman carries a whole cow head away from the market

You might think that an hour-long documentary mainly shot around a slaughter yard and rubbish dump might not make for particularly agreeable television, but trust me, this opener of a three-part series is by turns amusing, life-enhancing and gripping. Producer Will Anderson and director Gavin Searle have done an excellent job of getting under the surface of one of the worlds great megacities. A place that in the space of 50 years has grown from a population of about 300,000 to 16 million today.

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Beautiful Minds: James Lovelock, BBC Four

Gerard Gilbert

At around the same time that Oliver Postgate, that singular genius of children’s television, was knocking up new worlds in his garden shed in Kent, so, in a garden shed in Wiltshire another remarkable maverick, Professor James Lovelock, was assembling a new world of his own.

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Later... with Jools Holland: in the studio

joe Muggs

Welcome to the grown-up rock mothership. I've seen bands play in TV studios plenty of times over the years, but walking into the Later... With Jools Holland recording at BBC Television Centre for the first time, as I did last night, is something else. Studios generally have a disappointing feeling of smallness, or of looking behind the curtain to reveal artifice, but this genuinely was like stepping into the TV screen: the circle of bands and punters exactly as you see it when the...

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Goldsmiths: But is it Art? BBC Four

Fisun Güner

Goldsmiths has produced 20 Turner Prize winners. It produced Damien Hirst and the majority of the Brit Art pack that caused such a Nineties sensation. It has attracted some pretty impressive tutors to its fine art department – ground-breaking artists in their own right, in fact. As such, the school is considered to be something of a star in itself. So what’s its secret? This BBC Four two-parter aimed to find out - and, you’ve guessed it, in keeping with a certain jaunty documentary-making...

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Foyle's War, ITV1

Adam Sweeting Michael Kitchen as DCS Christopher Foyle: no breast-beating histrionics

Once upon a time, they all laughed at Inspector Morse because it was felt to be too "highbrow". In 2007, ITV axed Foyle's War, despite regular ratings of about 7 million, allegedly to go in pursuit of a "younger" audience. But people power swung into action, and a surge of protest caused ITV to think again. Hence, DCS Christopher Foyle returned for a sixth series, and now here he is again in a seventh.

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Starsuckers, More4

Matt Wolf

That fame, and the pursuit thereof, is hurtful to the soul is the unexceptional if, I suppose, ever invaluable message of Starsuckers, the Chris Atkins documentary given genuine ballast by the details it selects with which to argue its case. Though overlong for what it is, and often veering off on tangents worthy of separate movies in themselves, it makes you laugh and wince in equal measure. Anonymity has rarely seemed a healthier place to be.

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